CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Robberies increased by about 45 percent in the University of Illinois reporting district between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 last year, according to statistics released this week by the University of Illinois Division of Public Safety.
Thirty-two robberies were reported during the period, up from 22 during the same period in 2004 and 21 during the same period two years ago. Of the 36 victims, the majority were male U. of I. students who were robbed by strangers.
The city of Champaign, which recently released its crime statistics, also experienced an increased number of robberies, said Krystal Fitzpatrick, interim U. of I. executive director of public safety and chief of police. "Robbery is a crime of opportunity that can be reduced by individuals taking well-lighted routes, using the bus system and reporting suspicious people to the police," Fitzpatrick said.
However, aggravated assaults and batteries decreased by 33 percent, from 60 during the same period in 2004, to 40 during the 2005 reporting period. In 2003, 36 aggravated assaults and batteries were reported.
The number of reported criminal sexual assaults increased by two, from eight to 10 during the Sept. 1 - Dec. 31, 2005, reporting period; 11 criminal sexual assaults were reported during the 2003 period.
"We always like to see a decrease in criminal activity, especially in crimes against persons, such as aggravated assaults and batteries," Fitzpatrick said. "Our statistics show a strong correlation between those crimes and alcohol consumption, and our message continues to be, drink responsibly. Over-consumption increases both the likelihood of becoming a victim and of becoming an aggressor."
Incidents of peeping toms and public indecency remained steady at eight incidents during the same period in 2005 and 2004.
The greatest concentration of crimes occurred in areas adjacent to the university campus rather than on U. of I. grounds, particularly in the northwest quadrant, an area roughly bounded by University Avenue on the north, Gregory Drive on the south, and Wright Street on the east and the railroad tracks just east of Neil Street on the west.
The university crime report includes incidents that occurred in the area extending from University Avenue on the north to Windsor Road on the south, Race Street on the east and the railroad tracks just east of Neil Street on the west.
Statistics on crime on the Urbana-Champaign campus have been kept and publicly reported since 1995. The crime statistics are reported three times annually and in new student orientations and campus crime prevention programs.